We learned this week that a West Vancouver police officer was reprimanded for letting a civilian put on his gun belt and for posting the pictures to Facebook.
While definitely a breach of policy, it was a minor incident and no real harm came of it. It was a stupid oversight and the officer's superiors held him to account.
And that's what's important here - accountability. In the vast majority of cases, our officers adhere to extremely high standards in what they do. But a series of high-profile incidents and even higher profile cover-ups by police in B.C., both municipal and RCMP, have left the public deeply skeptical about these organizations.
As a society, we grant our police the authority to be the frontline arbiters of the law; however, we only do so on the condition that they remain totally accountable to the society that grants them that power in the first place.
In these recent cases, B.C.'s police brass has given the impression that their image matters more to them than this needed transparency.
But things appear to be turning around. By the account of the deputy police complaint commissioner, grievances about municipal forces are down thanks to positive changes in leadership.
And the RCMP, which has been its own worst enemy in the battle for its public image, has acknowledged there must be a shift in its internal culture if they ever want to win back the proud reputation the red serge has earned.
Let's hope this trend continues, and that it leads to lasting change.
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